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Regional News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015


‘No fragmentation in social protection programmes’

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has stated that there is no fragmentation in the implementation of social protection programmes in Ghana.

It said the ministry was created in 2013 by an Executive Instrument to, inter-alia, ensure the effective and efficient coordination of social protection programmes in the country and had since received cabinet’s approval and was implementing an institutional framework to enhance coordination.

This was in reaction to a publication in the Daily Graphic of February 24, 2015 captioned ‘MPs can’t track monies’ and the Deputy Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, Mr Robert Sarfo-Mensah, in an interview at the just-ended 53rd Session of the US Commission for Social Development in New York made certain remarks about implementation of social protection programmes by the Government of Ghana.

The MP was quoted as saying that “due to the fragmentation in the implementation of social protection programmes in the country, it makes it difficult to know in absolute terms what goes into social protection”.

However, the ministry explained that all government social protection programmes had their budgets captured in the government’s budget estimates for their respective ministries.

“They report on their performance on quarterly basis to their management and annually to their respective Parliamentary Select Committees”, it said.

The ministry, therefore, stated that it was misleading for the Ranking Member to say that Parliament did not know the social protection budget and what went into Social Protection Programmes in Ghana.

With regard to the tracking of funds, the statement said currently there existed a system to monitor and track expenditure on social protection from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with regard to internal auditing systems, through sector reviews, reports and hearings by the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee, Parliamentary approvals and the Public Accounts Committee.

“There is therefore an adequate monitoring and tracking system in place”, it said.

It also stated that as the coordinating ministry for social protection, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in collaboration with other ministries, MDAs and civil society, was developing a National Social Protection Policy.

Concerning issues of sustainability, the statement said all social protection programmes, including LEAP, School Feeding, NHIS, Free Uniform and Textbooks, LESDEP, GSOP and Block Farming, were funded, supported and managed by the Government of Ghana with some being supported by development partners.

Mr Sarfo Mensah’s reference to “a budget cut in the LEAP programme for 2014” is not correct. The 2014 LEAP budget was not cut! The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, had enough money to pay all the targeted 100 thousand LEAP beneficiaries their grants for 2014 as scheduled. Ninety thousand were paid with a shortfall of 10 thousand because such applicants were found to be unqualified.

It said none of those programmes had terminated with their beneficiaries being left midstream and added that all social protection programmes had strategic plans, budgets and monitoring and evaluation systems.

It said the government was consistently working to enhance efficiency, coordination and monitoring of its social protection programmes and added that “we are therefore implementing the recommendations of a rationalisation study conducted on social protection programmes by the Ministry of Local Government”.

On “the issue of an ageing policy for the country”, the ministry said a Government Ageing Policy had been launched and implemented since December 2012.